On The Run

Hiking the Akwamu Gorge in Ghana

Wanting to venture further afield than my runs could take me in Akosombo, I searched for nearby hiking opportunities and found the Akwamu Gorge Hike on the Akwamu Forest Hills located between Atimpoku and Akwamufie on the eastern side of the Volta River. The next step was organising a guide and transport. I searched online and found a company called The Trident which offers a number of fun adventures including abseiling, kayaking and hiking. The hike would cost me 252 Ghana Cedis (about US$20) and 200GHC (US$16) for a hotel pick-up. I probably could have found a much cheaper way to get there but given I was alone, and not really familiar with the place, this was by far the most convenient for me, so I went with it.

Solomon and Kojo picked me up from the Volta Hotel at 7am on Sunday. We drove through Akosombo and then crossed the Adomi Bridge that I’d run over on my last visit to Senchi. A few seconds later, we had arrived at the start of the hike. The drive took us about 20 minutes. Solomon had another client waiting for him in Accra so Kojo and I hopped off and got started!

With temperatures expected to rise to 37˚C, I was very grateful for the early start but as most of the hike was through the forest, the air felt relatively “cool” and the trees shielded us from the harsh sun. This made for a fairly comfortable ascent and descent. A few seconds into our walk, we arrived at a second gate which Kojo had to unlock for us to enter.

The trail started as a steep incline with a soft carpet of leaves, interspersed with a few rocks. As we progressed the climb levelled out with a only a few short climbs. In terms of difficulty level, I think anyone with average fitness would be quite comfortable with this hike.

I didn’t spot any wildlife but had read that there are about 20 species of medium to large mammals including the western pied colobus monkey, red river hog, duikers, long-tailed and tree pangolins and the African golden cat. There are also around 150 bird species in the area including the globally threatened white-necked picathartes. The forest is also home to the endangered Talbotiella gentii which is a medium-sized forest tree endemic to Ghana. After about 40 minutes of climbing and an elevation of around 178m, we reached the peak.

The reward for the climb was a panoramic view of the lower regions of the Volta River system including the Adomi Bridge and some islands. I told Kojo that even the best photos wouldn’t do these views justice! It was an incredible view from all angles but my favourite was the bridge!

“The climb speaks to our character, but the view, I think, to our souls.” – Lori Lansens

Our climb back down was a lot quicker, and our total hiking time was just over an hour which included stops for photos. Given the hike is estimated to take around 2 hours, I was very proud of my efforts! Clearly, my runs in hilly Akosombo are making me stronger. It was such a lovely experience and of course, the people you’re with always make it more worth it. Solomon and Kojo were very warm and welcoming from the moment they picked me up, and Kojo and I had an amazing time. As a keen chef, he shared many of his secrets from the Ghanaian Kitchen!

When I got back to the hotel, I read that the Royal Senchi in collaboration with the Akwamu Traditional Council is working with reputable local and international consultants and organizations to conserve the ecological integrity and aesthetic beauty of the Akwamu Hills Community Forest. Thank you to The Trident for the beautiful hike – it was a great experience!

When was the last time you went hiking? Have you ever hiked in hot and humid temperatures? Do you sometimes pay a bit extra for convenience?

I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. Be sure to check out their blogs.

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